Philip Kosloski graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Catholic Studies and completed his Master of Arts degree in Theology with the Augustine Institute. He is a writer and author of In the Footsteps of a Saint: John Paul II’s Visit to Wisconsin. He blogs at philipkosloski.com and writes to help all Catholics master the art of prayer by conquering the practical obstacles that prevent a fruitful relationship with Christ.
Recently there has been much talk about a Demonic house in Indiana being demolished and many are intensely interested in the supernatural happenings that were reported. While that is not initially a bad thing, there is a great risk involved if we become too engrossed in the activity of the devil. Father Vincent Lampert, exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, warned the public that “fascination with evil can create serious danger… ‘Instead of being fascinated with evil… we should all be fascinated with God.’”
The reason being that we can start to believe that Satan has more control over the world than God does.
Even C.S. Lewis, who wrote The Screwtape Letters, realized that his book was incomplete and dwelt too much on the activity of Satan. He explained in an addendum that was later published in The Screwtape Letters,
“Ideally, Screwtape's advice to Wormwood should have been balanced by archangelical advice to the patient's guardian angel. Without this the picture of human life is lop-sided.”
C.S. Lewis explained that while he would have loved to write this kind of counterpoint, he admitted that it would have been an impossible task as "every sentence would have to smell of Heaven," and is difficult to do for a mere mortal.
In any case, C.S. Lewis admitted that while his book was helpful in gaining insight, it was deficient in that he could not give the full picture. Even J.R.R. Tolkien, to whom the book was dedicated, was not pleased with the book as he thought C.S. Lewis spent too much time diving into the arts of the Enemy.
The Catholic Church has always tried to guide her faithful members and to instruct them not to be too interested in the power of the devil. In the Directory on Popular Piety it is written,
"When, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer."
A temptation for all of us as we explore the workings of the devil is that Satan has a sort of death grip over the world and that we are helpless in the struggle against evil. Sometimes we can be driven to despair and believe that God is absent or that He has allowed Satan free reign to destroy the earth. It is very common to hear of the “apocalypse,” “impending doom” or the “anti-christ,” and start to tremble.
Above all things, we need to remember that Satan is not an equal match for God. God is not duking it out with Satan and somehow Satan has gained the upper hand in a cosmic struggle.
God is infinitely more powerful than Satan.
God is an uncreated being, Satan is a created being; let us remember that. Satan flees at the sprinkle of a little holy water or at the sight of a crucifix. Remember, it is our free-will that is the biggest factor for Satan's presence in the world. Satan cannot force himself into a person's soul, we have to open the door. That is why a consistent and strong prayer life easily defeats the power of Satan in our lives.
Seasoned exorcists are not afraid of the devil when they begin to drive him out of a possessed person. Sure the devil tries to scare the exorcist with various things, but it is useless to a priest who believes in the power of God. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
So do not be afraid. Sure, Satan is powerful, but he is insignificant compared to the host of angels in Heaven. Let us not allow him to have power over our lives and drive us to fear him. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).